How Long Is a Dog a Puppy? A Dog Professional Clears Up!

Is your puppy growing and changing?

Perhaps you are also wondering when your puppy is actually no longer a puppy.

So you ask yourself a question that plays a big role in dog training.

This article explains how long your dog is a puppy and what is particularly important during this time.

Have fun while reading!

In a nutshell: How long is a dog a puppy?

How long a dog is a puppy also depends on the breed and its disposition. Large dog breeds in particular tend to take a little longer to develop physically and mentally. With them, the puppy period usually ends a little later than with small breeds.

At an age between 16 and 18 weeks, however, one usually no longer speaks of a puppy, but of a young dog.

Even with a puppy, it makes sense to work lovingly and consistently on good behavior. You will find many helpful tips for this in our dog training bible.

When does puppy time end and what happens then?

The so-called juvenile phase begins around the period from the fifth month of life, the puppy becomes a young dog. This does not happen suddenly overnight, but is a development process. The breed of your dog also plays a role. The individual predisposition of your four-legged friend is also relevant.

The age phases can be roughly broken down as follows:

up to max. 18 weeks – puppy time
From 16 weeks – juvenile phase/development to a young dog
From 7 months – puberty
From 12 months – adult dog
With the 18th week of life one usually speaks of a young dog.

This development usually goes hand in hand with the change of teeth. Your dog will now not grow as fast as in the first months of life.

Why is the puppy phase particularly important?

When you are a puppy, many of the foundations for your dog’s later behavior are laid.

It is important that your puppy gets used to different things in a positive way, i.e. without stress. With a good breeder, he gets to know other people and animals early on, as well as household appliances and various toys. This will prepare your dog for his future life.

This socialization needs to continue even after moving into a new home.

From the eighth week of life, a puppy can usually move to its new family. At this time he is in the socialization phase.

You should use this phase to get your puppy used to many things.

During this time, your dog learns very easily and playfully, so what you have learned is consolidated particularly well. With a good support you will help your puppy behave properly around people and other dogs.

In this way, he can develop skills to control his impulses, to endure frustration and to listen to you.

How can I best support a puppy during this time?

Socialization doesn’t stop at your home either. Your puppy will need to get used to his new home and new people first. After that you can go with him to different places like parks, restaurants or shopping streets.

It’s important for your dog to learn that there are many different things, but not to be afraid of them. Because most behavioral problems that occur in the course of a dog’s life are caused by fear. If you socialize your dog without stress, you can take away these fears.

If you have already brought your puppy to your home at the age of eight weeks, it is a good idea to visit a puppy playgroup. Because with other conspecifics, your dog can train its bite inhibition, learn to be together in a relaxed manner and thus find its place in the canine society.

If your puppy was with its mother and siblings for a longer period of time, it gained this learning experience there.


Consciously use the puppy period to work with your dog on building bonds and the rules of living together, so you create the basis for good development.

When does a dog count as a young dog?

Before your dog is physically and mentally mature, it goes through many developmental stages in which it continues to learn.

The change of teeth heralds the end of puppyhood for your dog. This usually happens from the age of four to five months.

From this time on, other hormones have a more intense effect on your dog and his brain gradually becomes a “major construction site”. Your dog keeps trying and looking for limits.

If your dog has hardly left your side on walks up to now, he will now start to explore the surroundings independently.

When does a puppy become calmer?

Young dogs in particular seem to have an almost limitless supply of energy. There is romping through the house, tearing the toys apart and attracting attention with barking or whining.

“Quiet” and “puppy”, these two words usually only go together when the young dog’s eyes close. But after all, a puppy sleeps around 18 hours a day. In between there is experience and learning.

Even in the young dog phase, many dogs still have a lot of energy. The temperament, however, again depends strongly on the breed. A Cocker Spaniel or a Basset Hound will probably be calmer than a Jack Russell Terrier even at this age.

Even if it depends heavily on the breed how much power your puppy has, young dogs are simply pure bundles of energy. From the age of about one year, however, the energy level has leveled off for everyone.

Good to know:

Romping and playing are important for young dogs. However, hyperactive behavior can be a sign that “parental boundaries” are missing.


Puppy time is very short. A few weeks after your puppy has moved in with you, this sensitive phase is already over.

Your dog’s development takes time and your support. With a good upbringing, you create a stable basis for this. You should therefore use this period consciously to prepare your dog as best as possible for the rest of his and thus your life together.

For stress-free training with a puppy and other socialization tips, visit our dog training bible.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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